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Brief Published: 26 Nov 2012

Urban Air: Cleansing LA’s Freeways


In an effort to transform the freeways of Los Angeles into a more pleasant and eco-friendly environment, American artist Stephen Glassman is planning to transform disused billboards across the city into suspended bamboo gardens.

The project, dubbed Urban Air, is yet to commence in earnest, but has already grabbed the attention of advertising, planning, engineering and technology professionals – prompting a potential multi-disciplinary action team. Currently seeking support via by crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, the project already has almost 1,000 backers.

According to Glassman, who first spotted the potential of the sturdy steel structures after noticing they remained unaffected by the LA earthquake of 1994, the aim is to provide something that contributes to the city by creating an ‘open space in the urban skyline’.

In order to create these green spaces, the commercial façades will be removed and replaced with architecturally modified planters. Water misters will be installed to allow the bamboo to live and grow naturally, and environmental sensors and wi-fi will be installed to gather data relating to climate change and air quality in the area.

Glassman aims to have implemented the urban takeover by the end of 2013.

For more on urban regeneration projects in public areas, see The Playful City, Green Roofing for the Vertical City and High Line 2: New York, New City

Stephen Glassman